Rebuilding Calder High - Head speaks to Channel 4 News
Thursday, 29 June 2023
"Why is it that the schools with the worst conditions are in the north?"
Tony Guise, the Head Teacher of Calder High School, was interviewed on Channel 4 News on Wednesday 28 June about the state of school buildings.
He explained that Calder High School was built in 1950, for 440 students. It now has 1300 students. "You can imagine," he told Channel 4 News, "trying to fit 1300 pupils into a school designed for 440, it can get a little crowded. The school building needs renewing. We have flat roofs, water comes in. Our heating system is at end of life."
The National Audit Office has said that 700,000 children in England are in schools which require major repairs and the situation is affecting student attainment.
Since 2014, Calder High have spent £5.5 million on keeping the building going and keeping it safe to accommodate the 1300 pupils.
"Every year," says Tony Guise, "We have to make crucial decisions. An asbestos survey will cost £50,000 while for a a fully trained teacher, top of the scale, you're looking at £45,000. Do I employ another teacher or do I have an asbestos survey? These are the decisions that schools across the country are making. This isn't just about education and school buildings. It's about social justice, social mobility, and the levelling up agenda.
"If you've got a beautiful state of the art school children feel better about themselves and better about their education. If they're having to be educated in the school that is not fit for purpose, is that the best we can do, is that all they are worth?"
There is some money available for rebuilding schools but it's not that easy to get. Tony Guise has been head of Calder High for 10 years and this is the third time they've applied for funds. And it's third time lucky. The school won't know the extent of the funds available, whether it will be enough for a full rebuild, until the end of July.
"If we get those funds, it will mean the staff and students get the school and accommodation they deserve."
Previously, on the HebWeb
Calder High loses out again, Feb, 2015
Backing for Rebuilding bid for Calder High, Nov 2011
Then Education Secretary Michael Gove: "One of the worst school buildings I've seen"